The Gujarat BJP has been posting videos of religious and spiritual gurus praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and asking their followers to ‘strengthen his hands’.
New Delhi: In between their sermons on gods and goddesses and the scriptures, spiritual leaders and religious preachers in Gujarat have also been listing the qualities of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and backing his government’s decisions.
And what could be a better opportunity to flaunt them than in the run-up to the state assembly elections? Which is exactly what the ruling party is doing.
Videos of these sermons, shot at different points in time, are now being circulated on social media to garner support for the BJP ahead of next month’s polls.
The preachers have praised Modi’s honesty and patriotism, while a few of them have also weighed in positively on decisions like demonetisation and the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax. The underlying message to their followers is to “strengthen his hands”.
Ramesh Bhai Ojha
A spiritual leader from the Saurashtra region of Gujarat, Ojha cited the example of a train changing tracks to support PM’s decision of implementing GST, in a video posted by the Gujarat BJP’s Facebook page on 6 November.
“When a train changes track, the speed has to be slowed down, otherwise there would be a derailment. And here we are talking about changing our economy. There would be lot more noises from both those in favour and those against it,” Ojha said.
“The most important thing is that the ‘Pradhan Sewak’ of the country is working, and even if a mistake is committed, then people would say ‘it’s okay’, as they know it is for better of the country,” he added.
He compared the situation it to cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar failing to score a century. “The crowd will be disappointed, but they will not blame him. No one would doubt his potential and intention,” Ojha said.
A child spiritual guru, Varniswaroopdasji spoke about India’s rising stature in the world because of Prime Minister Modi, in a video posted by the Gujarat BJP on its Facebook page on 5 November.
“Samarpan maa taakat chhe (there is power in sacrifice). Modi sahib is a statue of sacrifice. During demonetisation, many stood in line and got just Rs 2,000; people bore the hardships. People are 98 per cent sure that (Modi) wants to do something for the country. If there is any shrestha vyaktitva (superior personality) after Gandhi, it is him,” he said.
Mahant Swami Maharaj
Another video, posted on 4 November, showed Mahant Swami Maharaj, the head of the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha that runs Akshardham temples wish that “the lotus and Modi would bloom”.
Posted on 31 October, the video shows Swami Nityaswaroopdas telling his followers: “No one can threaten us anymore; this is how the country has been made now. He [Modi] has no personal interest and greed. He does not have anyone in family. Strengthen his hands.”
A guru with a global following, Morari Bapu also spoke in favour of Modi in a video posted a few months ago.
“I got a call from Kaushikbhai (Patel, BJP Gujarat co-ordinator) asking if I have any views on the Modi government’s three years in power. I said I maintain my distance from everyone and have nothing to do with politics. All I could say is ‘Is aadmi ki rashtrabhakti par koi ungli nahi utha sakta’ (No one can question his patriotism),” Bapu said.